Science, Technology & Environment
Food Scientist or Technologist
Food scientists study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods to analyse, develop and improve food products.
What does a Food Scientist or Technologist do?
Food scientists use chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods. They analyse, develop and improve existing products and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, preserve, store, and distribute food. Food scientists are often more commonly known as food technologists.
As a food scientist, you might:
- examine raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value
- inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management standards
- evaluate food processing and storage operations and assist in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations
- study methods to improve aspects of foods, such flavour, color, texture, nutritional value, and convenience
- stay up-to-date on new regulations and current events regarding food science by reviewing scientific literature
- test new products for flavour, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards.
Key skills and interests
To become a food scientist, you would need:
- ability in science and maths
- an interest in food production and preparation
- strong attention to detail
- the ability to work with strict health and hygiene rules
- good communication skills, to explain ideas to other scientists and factory staff
- a confident approach to meeting regulations and reporting problems.
Working hours and conditions
Food scientists often work standard hours but in some jobs shift work is common to cover production runs.
As a food scientist or technologist you could work in laboratories, research departments, or in quality inspection and control on food processing / production lines.
This could include travelling to warehouses, distribution centres and suppliers’ factories.
How to become an Food Scientist or Technologist?
Entry Level Education
To become a food scientist or technologist you usually have to study nutrition, nutrition and dietetics, food science or food technology at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent.
English, mathematics, biology and chemistry would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Job growth for food scientists and technologists is expected to be about average.
Growth will be driven by the demand for new food products and food safety measures. Food research is expected to increase because the public is more aware of nutrition, health, and food safety.
Most growth for food scientists will be in private industry. Private industry has increased its demand for food scientists because their expertise is necessary for developing food products, along with ensuring quality and safety.